Thursday, April 10, 2014

#31 Harvard Men's Tennis: News and Views, Recap of Columbia/Cornell; preview Princeton/Penn

#31 Harvard Men's Tennis: News and Views



In this issue:

Eaten by Lions

Win at Big Red

Upcoming Princeton/Penn Weekend in Cambridge


Eaten by Lions

Harvard went into the Columbia Lions Den for a match-up of the top two ranked Ivy teams.  While it was the first Ivy match of our season, it felt like the finals.  Columbia was on an incredible 12 match win streak, sporting a stellar 14-1 record to go along with their top-20 national ranking.  It has been a while since we've been the underdogs and we relished our role in their bubble.


The match would last for nearly four hours with nearly every contest coming down to the final frame.  In doubles, we lost two tie-breakers at #1 and #3 positions to spot Columbia a 1-0 lead.  The singles would be a war with the fanatical home fans chanting nearly every single point.   We lost a quick match at #2 with freshmen Sebastian Beltrame getting pummeled by their sophomore warrior Dragos Ignat.  The rest of the matches would go three sets.  Freshmen Andrew Ball would lose 7-5 in the third to Vermeer, who has gone undefeated at the #6 position all season.  Alex Steinroeder would lose in the third to Ashok Narayana at #4 and Shaun Chaudhuri would also drop the final set to give the Lions an insurmountable lead.  Denis Nguyen was ahead in the third when his hand cramped against Winston Lin (a top 20 national player).  Brian Yeung would have the matched stopped in the third set when the match was all square to prepare for Cornell the following day.   It was an impressive showing by the home team and we tip our caps to the Lions for their fine performance.  The match was hard fought but fair and respectful - just what an Ivy clash of the titans should look like. 


While Columbia celebrated their achievement, the Crimson became clearer about their games and what improvements needed to be made to jump to the next level.  We have three freshmen in our starting line-up who are growing by the day. There is great optimism here in Cambridge about the final part of the season and what lies ahead.  We haven't played our best tennis yet and we are working hard to get to the NCAA tournament.  Our theme song for this final leg is Gladys Knight and the Pips, "Midnight Train to Georgia" as we hope to make the Sweet 16 in Athens.   


A big thank you to all the alums, friends and family that came out to watch us play in NYC.  There was a huge contingent so pardon us if we forget to include you in our list:  Davis Mangham, Mac McAnulty, Aba Omodele-Lucien, Will McNamee, Jon Chu, Mike Zimmerman, Kunj Majmudar, Bill Stanley, Alex Seaver, Cliff Adler as well as team Beltrame, Sheila Steer, and superfan Hal Hirshon, just to name a few.   


Harvard 5 - Cornell 2

It was quite a contrast to go from an indoor bubble to outdoors courts in Ithaca in less than 24 hours.   It was clear from the doubles that we had not lost heart and we were ready for battle.  We won all three doubles matches by getting back to basics of first serves and returns.   The singles was very promising.  Alex Steinroeder won in straight sets at #4 to put us up 2-0.  Alex game has been improving over the last few weeks and his bigger forehand and revamped backhand make him a force to reckon with.   He still has that all-court game and crafty underspin shot-making prowess to go with his newfound power.  Brian Yeung won in straight sets by relying on his massive serve and ferocious backhands to put his opponent on the defensive. Shaun Chaudhuri would clinch the match his deep and steady groundstrokes.  We call Shaun's tennis the "vice-grip" for his relentless and merciless baseline pressure.  Sebastian Beltrame would notch the final win of the day at #2.  The Big Frosh made some significant improvement from the day before and locked into his game of heavy, building groundstrokes and powerful finishing shots.  Sebastian uses all of his 6'5" frame and big levers to make his opponent suffer. 


Upcoming Princeton/Penn Weekend in Cambridge

This weekend features two great match-ups.  We will be squaring off on Saturday at 1pm against the #59 Princeton Tigers.  We are scheduled to play outdoors at Beren but if it rains we will move indoors to Murr.  On Sunday, the Crimson will host the Penn Quakers.  Come out and enjoy the sun and warm weather (64 degree day) at the Beren Courts and watch some great tennis.  Hope to see you there!


Matches begin at 1pm both days.


Dave Fish
Scott Mead Family Head Coach of Men's Tennis
Harvard University Dept of Athletics
Murr Center
65 N. Harvard St.
Boston, MA 02163
GoCrimson Men's Tennis website
Harvard Men's Tennis blog

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